Evidence Library

Title: It all depends: Conceptualising public involvement in the context of health technology assessment agencies.
Author: Gauvin, F., Abelson, J., Giacomini, M., Eyles, J. & Lavis, J.
Date Published: 2010
Reference: Social Science & Medicine, 70(10), 1518-1526.
Are service users or carers authors: Yes


Aim: To find out how public involvement is understood in health technology assessment (HTA) agencies.    

Methods: A review of the HTA literature and interviews with staff in HTA agencies in Canada, Denmark and the UK.    

Results: The findings show that because HTA agencies sit on the boundary between research and policymaking, they struggle with the idea of public involvement. They find it difficult to be certain when 'public' versus 'patient' involvement is most appropriate.

There are three main areas of HTA work where there could be room for involvement:

  • within the HTA agency to help with prioritising assessments and commissioning relevant research
  • within commissioned research projects to influence research design and implementation
  • finally appraising the evidence and writing reports for policymakers.     

There is an argument that the public should also be involved in democratic debates about the development and uptake of health technologies, but this lies outside of the sphere of influence of HTA agencies.

The authors have produced a conceptual tool to help HTA agencies explore the assumptions and expectations about public involvement. The aim is to develop a common understanding of the concept of involvement and to help agencies find meaningful ways to put it into practice.

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Related entry: none currently available

Categories: health
public health
social care
nature and extent of public involvement in research
reflecting on public involvement in research
journal article

Date Entered: 2010/09/28

Date Edited: 2015/02/19

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